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Filed under: 26USC501 (c) (4), Anonymous Donors, Attack Ads., False Attack Ads, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, IRS, POLITCAL DONATIONS, Political Attack Ads
INFAMOUS WILLIE HORTON ATTACK AD RUN A FEW DAYS BEFORE BUSH v.DUKAKIS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. BOTH BUSH AND DUKAKIS HAD BEEN IN OFFICE WHEN WEEKEND FURLOUGH PASSES WERE IN EFFECT. BUSH UNDER THE FEDERAL PROGRAM AND THE MODEL FOR THE MASSACHUSETTS PROGRAM UNDER MICHAEL DUKAKIS. BUSH CLAIMED AD RUN BY AN UNKNOWN PAC GROUP. BUT FACTS SHOW BUSH”S CAMPAIGN MANAGER LEE ATWATER (MENTOR TO KARL ROVE) WAS THE INSTIGATOR OF THE ALLEGEDLY ANONYMOUS AD THROUGH A PAC GROUP WHOSE FUNDERS WERE UNKNOWN. AD RAN ONLY IN THE SOUTH TO SCARE VOTERS WORRIED ABOUT VIOLENT BLACK CRIMINALS.
After the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission(Citizens United) decision many political advocacy groups sought tax exempt status under 26 USC 501(c)(4.) Which more importantly provides for anonymity of donors?
This would allow people to donate to entities that create false attack ads like the Swift Boat Ads and remain anonymous.
Also This would allow groups with political agendas to solicit money from donors to fund their activities and even hire a professional staff at salary to accomplish their ends. The IRS was inundated with requests to qualify as 501(c)(4) status including a large number of Tea party and related organizations organized for the political purpose of electing and promoting conservative politicians and causes i.e.: interpreting the Constitution and The Bill Of Rights according to their view usually in an ultra conservative manner
26 USC 501(c)(4) was originally enacted for Little League, Parent Teacher Organizations, Scout Troops , and other like organizations primarily devoted to education, social welfare or cultural activities for the benefit of their communities.
However some degree of political activity was allowed for and organizations primarily devoted to other non political non business endeavors like the local Little League petitioning the city council for more fields.
However after Citizens United some saw an opportunity to fund political organizations with anonymous donations to use for unsavory political acts for the election of like minded politicians. As a furtherance to their activities they sought classification under 501(c)(4) of the IRS code as nonprofit organizations primarily engaged in educational, welfare or cultural activities. A large influx of applications by these political organizations seeking cover under IRS Code Sec. 501(c)(4) occurred. Thus the revenue service was inundated with applications from organizations with political clout in Washington because of their primary activity was getting their defenders elected.
We now see a push on now to force the IRS not to weigh the activities of these applicants and waive them through to tax exempt status even though 26 USC 501(c)(4) says otherwise.
However the conduct being looked at is the IRS classification of Tea party and other groups with patriotic words in their name for closer review because it appeared that their main activity was political and therefore they were not covered by the act. When is the the last time you saw a tea party goup have a cook out for the girls scouts.
Karl Rove’ Cross Roads GPS, according to, PRO PUBLICA “recieved $70 million from anonymous donors in the 2012 election and told the Internal Revenue Service that its efforts would focus on public education, research and shaping legislation and policy. This was done in its 501(c)(4) application which has not yet been approved.’” PRO PUBLICA further stated “Crossroads’ breakdown of planned activities said it would focus half its efforts on ‘public education,” 30 percent on ‘activity to influence legislation and policy making’ and 20 percent on “research,” including sponsoring ‘in-depth policy research on significant issues.’
This seems at odds with much of what the group has done since filing the application, experts said. Within two months of filing its application, Crossroads spent about $15.5 million on ads telling people to vote against Democrats or for Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections.”
“American Crossroads (Crossroads GPS sister organization), which does identify its donors, spent almost $105 million on election ads in the 2012 cycle. For its part, Crossroads GPS poured more than $70 million into ads and phone calls urging voters to pick Republicans — outlays that were reported to the Federal Election Commission. It also announced spending an additional $50 million on ads critical of President Barack Obama that ran outside the FEC’s reporting window.” PRO PUBLICA
On the other hand liberal democratic Pac Priorities USA has also applied for 501(c)(4) status It is the sister organization of Priorities USA Action which is not a 501(c)(4) entity and does disclose its donors. It backed Obama in 2012 and aired the commercial by a worker saying that Romney killed his wife by his business activities.Washington Post 5/15/13
The IRS was pushed into a corner on 501(c)(4) classification by powerful political pacts which wanted to secure anonymity for certain donors and also a tax exempt status. Now the temporary director of the IRS has been forced to resign all due to a classification error of entities that were highly questionable as to their ability to qualify for 501(c)(4) status .
TAKE AWAY: 501(c)(4) organizations want anonymity for their donors so they will not be associated with unsavory, false or misleading attack ads televised at the last minute during elections. Strict compliance with the law in regard to all elegible groups might lessen the ability or inclination to air last minute false or misleading political commercials.Leave a Comment
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Filed under: 9/11, BENGHAZI, CONGRESSIONAL SHORT SIGHTEDNESS, DARRELL ISSA
Darrell Issa : Congressman California’s 49th District
Congress in the form of Darrell Izza, Chairman Of The House Oversight And Government Reform Committee is trying to find out who failed to lock the barn door after the horse was gone in reference to the Benghazi attack where four Americans were killed including Ambassador Stevens. Izza is a self made millionaire and a Republican who when unsuccessful in his 1998 run against Barbara Boxer for Senator in California ran for Congress. He was successful in gaining a seat in Congress in 2000 and has been there ever since. He is generally classified as conservative and has voted with the House Republicans more than 94% of the time.
The State Department’s budget requests for security were cut twice by House Republicans in 2011 and 2012 by approximately 128 million and 212 million respectively. This was at a time when the Arab Spring which began in 2010 caused unrest throughout the Middle East including Libya which was engaged in a bloody civil war for most of 2011. It was difficult to determine what the various factions that conducted the uprising against Gaddafi represented: secular democrats, Islamic moderate democrats , fundamentalist Islamic theocrats, or those who wanted an Al Qaeda affiliated dictatorship according to Sharia law.
Congressional Republicans cut the State Department Security budget anyway even though Secretary of State Clinton publicly protested the cuts and spoke directly with Speaker of the House John Boehner to avoid the cuts. The budget cuts went through. Now Mr. Izza is trying to blame the State Department for an inadequate security response and mis-characterization of the assault as a demonstration against an anti-Islamic film that got out of hand instead of a planned terrorist attack.
Mr. Izza is using the hearing as a political smear tactic against the Obama Administration and Secretary Clinton who may be a candidate for President in 2016.
This is not the first time that Congress has inadequately protected the American people. Before 9/11 Congress turned airport screening over to the Airlines, at their objection, who had been deregulated and were in a economic battle with each other for passengers. This resulted in less income and inadequate screening.
Europe long before recognized that the Airlines were a terrorist target and established a professional police like screening system funded by the state. That was one of the reasons the terrorist involved in 9/11 so easily commandeered the passenger jets they used to bring down the Towers and damage the Pentagon.
So Mr. Izza is looking in all the wrong places for culpability for Benghazi when he should investigate himself and his colleges for their inadequacies and motives in cutting security budgets in turbulent times to save dollars instead of American lives for political reasons
Take Away: Congress is a power struggle between Republicans and Democrats and even within those two groups there are factional disputes. The welfare of the public is second or even third in this struggle over patronage, judicial appointments and who gets to spend the government’s money on what and where. Republicans generally speaking represent the money class from whom they receive campaign contributions. The Democrats represent the working class, the poor and unemployed. There are always exceptions to this general rule. It is not uncommon for middle class or working class people to vote Republican and for wealthy people to support the Democrats.
However Congress must create issues like Benghazi and now the IRS dust up to appear as if they are doing something in controlling the Executive branch. However the real issue is the fight over power and who controls what.Leave a Comment
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Filed under: Alan Greenspan, Austerity, Austerity fiasco, Carmen Reinhart, Debt and Growth: A Response to Reinhart and Rogoff Responding To Our Critics, Harvard Spending Study, Kenneth Rogoff, Michael Ash, Milton Friedman, Paul Krugman, Reinhart and Rogoff: Responding to Our Critics, Reinhart-Rogoff Study, Robert Pollen, The Excel Depression, Thomas Herndon, Uncategorized, Univerity Of Mass Study
For at least three years now Republicans in Congress have been calling for reductions in spending at a time the economy was weak despite assertions that a reduction in government spending would hurt the recovery and the people dependent on it. This call for a slash in spending at any cost to defense and entitlements was based on a study by two Harvard proffessors (Reinhart-Rogoff) who published a paper that alleged that when spending exceeded 90% of the Gross National Product a tipping point would occur and the economy would go in to a decline. Recently it has been revealed that the economists made fundamental errors in Excel coding and materials included in the study that showed it be wrong. Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winning economists points out in a N.Y. Times Op-Ed article as follows;
“So the Reinhart-Rogoff fiasco needs to be seen in the broader context of austerity mania: the obviously intense desire of policy makers, politicians and pundits across the Western world to turn their backs on the unemployed and instead use the economic crisis as an excuse to slash social programs.
What the Reinhart-Rogoff affair shows is the extent to which austerity has been sold on false pretenses. For three years, the turn to austerity has been presented not as a choice but as a necessity. Economic research, austerity advocates insisted, showed that terrible things happen once debt exceeds 90 percent of G.D.P. But “economic research” showed no such thing; a couple of economists made that assertion, while many others disagreed. Policy makers abandoned the unemployed and turned to austerity because they wanted to, not because they had to.” All based on statistical errors and an Excel coding error.
THE FULL ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND HERE
The Excel Depression http://nyti.ms/116mPk5
THE TAKE AWAY: THIS SAME BLIND BOWING TO AN ALLEGED AUTHORITY FIGURE LED THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION TO EMBRACE AND PROMOTE THE FREE MARKET ILLUSIONS OF MILTON FRIEDMAN, WHICH LED TO THE SAVINGS AND LOAN CRISIS UNDER BUSH I, THE LONG TENURE OF THE BESOTTED FREEMARKETEER ALAN GREENSPAN, THE SAVAGING OF THE BOND MARKET BY WALL STREET AND THE COLLAPSE OF THE ECONOMY UNDER BUSH II. SO AGAIN WE HAVE A FLAWED ECONOMIC REPORT USED BY THE 1% TO LOWER TAXES AND CUT SPENDING ON UNEMPLOYENT COMPENSATION, ENTITLEMENSTS AND EVEN DEFENSE TO PROTECT THEIR INTERESTS TO THE DISADVANTAGE OF THE 99%.
Reinhart and Rogoff: Responding to Our Critics http://nyti.ms/17ZGGEm
Debt and Growth: A Response to Reinhart and Rogoff Responding To Our Critics http://nyti.ms/ZSGaXU (UMASS proffessors responding to Reinhart defence on austerity policy.)
Take Away: Reinhart and Rogoff made excel mistakes and excluded data to reach a conclusion: A conclusion that conservative politcians in Europe and The United States are trying to make into law and policy that will damage our economies. China didn’t follow Reinhart et. al. and injected money into their economy and are growing faster that Western economies.
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GUN CONTROL DEFEAT IN SENATE MUSTERING ONLY 54 VOTES 6 SHORT OF THE 60 NEEDED TO OVER COME A FILIBUSTER A CHANGE IN RULES NEEDED?
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Filed under: Filibuster, Gabby Giffords, Gun Control, Mitch McConnell, Newtown Parents, Obama, Senate, VOTE
WHO DO YOU BELIEVE?
WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAID: (AT 4.25: Note Gabby Giffords and Newtown Parents On The Podium.)
WHAT SENATE MINORITY LEADER MCCONNELL SAID:
Despite the fact that the majority of Americans support changes in gun laws a minority of elected senators chose to vote against the Administrations bill for a ban on assault weapons, smaller clips and background checks. This occurred after the National Rifle Association announced it would score the vote as to whom they would oppose in the next election.
Even though a majority voted for the passage of the bill there were not enough votes to overcome a threatened filibuster by the minority. However instead of requiring the opposition to actually take the floor and speak on why they opposed the bill they only had to register their vote without speaking on the floor in a filibuster as once was required. This quid pro quo between the two parties: the Democrats don’t require it for opposition to their bills and the Republicans do likewise could have been changed in January but it was not, perhaps the Democrats feared that one day they would be in the minority and then be unable to block a distasteful bill.
However when a minority driven by fear of being given a negative score by the NRA votes against the will of the majority of American people as expressed in the polls an exception should be made requiring those in opposition to take the floor, subject to rebuttal, and express their reasons for opposing gun control. This way the public would know exactly who they are and the reasons for the negative votes and it might change voters’ minds in their home states as to whom they want to elect.
C-Span would cover it fully and the cable and broadcast media would cover the speeches for all to see. Then maybe the power of a small lobbying group like the NRA would be broken and we would have government of the people by the people.
APPARENTLY COULTER JOKINGLY IS WILLING AND PROBABLY UNINTENTIONALLY TO INCITE VIOLENCE AGAINST ANOTHER REPUBLICAN OVER GUN CONTROLS SAYS THE WRAP AFTER MARTIN BASHIR SAID THE ONLY WAY A REPUBLICAN WOULD VOTE FOR GUN LAW CHANGE IS IF THEY LOST A FAMILY MEMBER TO GUN VIOLENCE.
COULTER’S REMARK SHE SAYS WAS MADE IN JEST IN RESPONSE TO A LIBERAL COMMENTATORS REMARK. THE McCAINS HOWEVER SAY IT WAS OVER THE TOP, IN POOR TASTE AND UNNESSARY AS THEY HAVE RECIEVED DEATH THREATS BEFORE AND DON’T NEED ANY MORE IN JEST OR OTHERWISE.
COULTER AND MEGHAN MCCAIN HAVE IN THE PAST EXPRESSED DISAGREEMENT WITH EACH OTHER OVER POLITICAl ISSUES.
THE TAKE AWAY FROM THIS: MEDIA FRINGE PEOPLE WILL SAY OR DO ANYTHING TO GET COVERAGE AND A PAYCHECK WHEN THEIR IMAGE OR VOICE IS USED. HENCE WE HAVE PEOPLE LIKE COULTER,THE KARDASIANS, LOHAN, LOHAN’S PARENTS, THOSE TYPES ON DANCING WITH THE STARS, DENNIS RODMAN AND OTHERS GRASPING FOR MEDIA COVERAGE TO PROLONG THEIR FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME.http://www.thewrap.com/tv/column-post/fox-news-site-pulls-ann-coulter-calling-meghan-mccains-murder-85271Leave a Comment
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Filed under: Lawrwnce Lessig, Ted Talks, Uncategorized
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Filed under: Aaron Swartz, Aaron's Law, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Prosecution, The Other Aaron's Law
AARON SWARTZ’S FUNERAL
Aaron Swartz’s criminal prosecution for violating the terms of service of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s JSTOR data base has caused two bills to be introduced in Congress.
One called Aaron’s Law would eliminate criminal charges arising out of the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the wire fraud act. Thus preventing the U.S. Attorney from making what was essentially a breach of contract civil case into a criminal case as they did in Aaron’s prosecution. Further to criminalize a just moral belief is indefensible.
Also Swartz’s criminal complaint was exaggerated by adding multiple counts each with its own jail penalty. This method was used by the prosecutor to bully Aaron in to pleading guilty to a crime he believed he did not commit by filing multiple draconian charges with long sentences to force him to plead to a lesser included offense which he refused to do.
In this case the multiple felonies filed under the aforementioned acts carried possible penalties of 35 years in jail and a million dollar fine. The lesser plea bargain was a felony plea and six months in jail. This is a frequent prosecutorial tactic not just in federal criminal cases but also in state cases.
By this method of overreaching and overcharging to force a plea bargain by the prosecution Swartz would have been deprived of a fair hearing on the merits of his case and having it ruled on accordingly.
MIT did not want this matter to be filed on by the U.S. Attorney’s office obviously because of the fact they were also morally unjustified in not making JSTOR’s data base open to the public who had paid for the research in the first place. However they had the legal right to charge people off campus and limit downloading to people on campus because the existing copyright laws have been manipulated to expire long after the creation of the research papers most of which in this case were paid, as said, with tax payer money.
The copyright law which was first enacted to encourage the creation and dissemination of information after a brief period to allow the creator to be paid for their work has now morphed into a property rights wall that lasts for 70 years after the death of the creator. This gives the creator no incentive to create anything new and once he or she is dead he or she obviously will create no more. Thus we have unproductive people living off the works of the dead creator.
Aaron Swartz believed in the Open Source Movement that would limit the time information and creations could be locked up behind corporate copyright walls which MIT was doing with its JSTOR data base which included research papers from the 1940’s.
The second bill, Fair Access to Science Technology and Research Act would mandate earlier access to publicly funded research. (The other Aaron’s law.) It will address this problem but it is unlikely to pass because there are too many powerful interests with an army of lobbyists who want to lengthen copyrights and patents for their own benefit.
Death is always a sad subject and suicide is even sadder. An unnecessary death of a young, gifted, idealistic person is the worst of all. However perhaps this case will change public perceptions and bring about a resolution that benefits society in general.
The House of Representatives Oversight Committee has announced it will look into the prosecutorial tactics used in the Swartz case to determine if there was any abuse. This may result in legislation also to prevent the prosecution tactics Aaron Swartz was faced with.
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Filed under: Aaron Swartz, Criminal Prosecutions, Google, Hacking, Internet, Privacy
Aaron Swartz was being prosecuted, criminally, for downloading the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s data base of research papers which were available free on its Wi-Fi network on campus to everyone not just faculty and students. However off campus MIT charges a subscription fee and on campus it limits downloads to one paper at a time. There was no illegal entry into the data base by Swartz he just downloaded them on campus to a computer hidden in a closet and then uploaded them onto the internet. Allegedly MIT had no interest in proceeding against Swartz criminally or civilly but someone must have made a complaint.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint alleging: Wire Fraud, Computer Fraud, Unauthorized Access and Computer Damage. These charges could conceivably bring a felony conviction and a long jail sentence. The plea bargain he was offered was six months in jail and a plea of guilty to a felony along with probation.
However Swartz committed suicide by hanging before the case was resolved. The reason for the suicide is open to conjecture obviously the criminal case and the take it or leave it plea bargain to a felony and six months in jail plus probation would have been depressing to Swartz.
He was an idealist who was interested in systems that would benefit mankind even if he didn’t profit by them. He already had participated in the development of RSS (Real Simple Syndication) and Reddit. He was seen as a computer genius by the computer intellectual community but chose not to work at a for profit company. Besides the charges he had other factors that could be a cause of his depression and its consequences including ulcerative colitis a condition that is not life threatening and treatable in most cases.
Pleading guilty to a computer related felony could have serious consequences for Aaron Swartz if he continued his activities on the internet like the MIT situation which he saw as non criminal and as making available information that the public had already paid for through government grants to the researchers. A second similar conviction could bring a longer jail sentence if he took the felony plea and light sentence in this case.
Google on the other hand was never criminally prosecuted in this country by the U.S Justice Department or elsewhere for its Street View program of photographing houses and buildings and making them searchable on the internet. It also collected information like e-mail addresses, e-mail content, passwords and web browsing histories from unprotected Wi-Fi networks as it collected the photographic data. Google first denied it had collected such data and then was forced to reveal it had but alleged it was accidental and when discovered it deleted the data. Whether Google has deleted the data is open to argument. Also in order to collect the data Google had an experienced engineer specifically write a software program to accomplish the end result. Yet it continues to say it was all an accident. How much money it made from the collected data is unknown and there was a strong profit motive here making it likely the wire tap was intentional.
Google was sued civilly by thirty states through their Attorneys General and in numerous foreign countries. Germany even considered a criminal action. In the U.S. the civil settlement was about $7 million.
Google’s gross profit was $7.37 billion for 2012. A share of its stock trades at over $830.00. Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, its founders and manager are all billionaires.
When Aaron Swartz does a lesser incursion into the privacy of MIT it becomes a felony criminal offense but when Google steals the private data of millions it is a civil offense and one subject to a small fine, really a cost of doing business, and Google is free to continue invading the public’s privacy for profit which it has done serially in the past and when caught is able to buy out with small civil penalties. (Search Google Settlements.) One wonders what kind of information it gives its lawyers and lobbyists regarding our state and federal legislators, executives and prosecutors in their dealings.
The Justice Department should take a hard-nosed look at what Google is doing and has done in the past and act accordingly.
In the case of people like Aaron Swartz, a civil case with a proportional fine would have been adequate. It was not necessary for the prosecutor in Boston to have Aaron’s scalp hanging from his belt.
The prosecution can be unnecessarily punitive on the low hanging fruit but timid against giant offenders with the resources to defend themselves and for whom they might want to work in the future.
Let’s see them take on Google and hang tough. Offer the culpable executive in charge a plea bargain similar to Aaron Swartz’s.Leave a Comment
Barack Obama: Winner of the 2012 Presidential Election, 232 To 206 Electoral Votes Including Florida. A New Beginning?
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Filed under: Barack Obama, Obama A New Beginning?, Winner of the 2012 Presidential Election
Barack Obama won a grueling election where money spent was no object and on the Republican side truth was not an obstacle, (witness the late term untrue Jeep commercial where it was alleged Jeep was shipping Ohio jobs to China).
Neither Race in the case of Obama or Religion in the case of Romney was an overt factor in the race. However what voters held silently in their hearts and psyches we will probably never know.
This Election Really Started In 2010 When The Republicans Took Control Of The House Of Representatives.
Many of the new Republican members were Tea Party members sworn to reduce government, taxation and spending. The nominally moderate Speaker Boehner bowed to their wishes and the Republican strategy of making Obama a one term president emerged. The plan was to demonstrate to the country and the voters that Obama was a President they could not and would not work with. This ended in a legislative lockdown where essentially neither side could pass legislation. The Democrats still controlled the Senate when Mitch McConnell, Republican minority leader, was careless enough to say “my job is to see that Barack Obama is a one term President.” This meant good bye to compromises, the oil that lubricates the legislative machinery.
Obama went to the people to build public opinion for his positions but it did little to change Republican thinking in Congress whose thinking mainly was controlled by Grover Norquist and the conservative groups that backed him. If a Republican did not sign his no new tax pledge or went back on it he could expect his next primary opponents to be well funded and managed by Norquist’s strategists. It usually meant political death. So we have the absurd spectacle of a non elected political boss controlling a huge block of legislators in the House and the Senate and presiding over a stalemate.
The next event in the election process was the Republican Primaries for the nomination to run for president. A motley crew emerged most of who were vying for the title of a true red conservative that would not waiver under pressure if elected.
Mitt Romney who had been a moderate governor of Massachusetts, a relatively liberal state, tacked far to the right in order to win the nomination from the demagogues that would say anything to capture a vote. Thus he had to become a demagogue himself.
During this time the Obama campaign team decided that Romney was the most likely to win the nomination and began attacking him as a ruthless hedge fund manager who bankrupted companies and sent jobs overseas. Romney was unable to counter these attacks because of campaign spending laws which held his money in check until he was the party’s nominee.
After a contentions and back biting round of state primary elections Romney emerged the winner but only after moving far to the right of the moderate and independent voters who would decide the general election.
The Convention showed the Republicans to be severely divided internally and their policies of polarity on economic as well as social issues with the Democrats was still deep and non negotiable as they were in the Senate and the House. So the Republican Convention while showing unity behind the candidate alienated women and Hispanic voters; two demographics they needed to win the general election.
The Democratic Convention extolled the virtues of Obama and his egalitarian, inclusive vision for all Americans, rich, middleclass, poor, female, Hispanic and others.
In the first debate Romney threw a curve ball at Obama by moving towards the center. He was animated, loud, rude and often refusing to abide by the debate rules despite the protests of the esteemed moderator, Jim Lehrer. He made a mockery of the debate but it worked because it won him a bump in the polls. During this debate Obama held back and was passive. Perhaps he was fatigued by the change in altitude from Nevada to Colorado or he was letting Romney dig a hole for himself as there were still two debates to come and a vice Presidential debate also.
Romney’s chosen Vice Presidential candidate was a far right Congressman who expounded the conservative mantra during the campaign while Romney talked moderation and had a preposterous plan for cutting taxes by reducing the deficit and increasing defense spending all while creating 12 million jobs. President Obama concluded that this would increase the deficit by 7-8 trillion dollars over ten years. Romney refused to give details on how he would do this just has he had refused to release his tax returns except for two recent years.
A telling sub-rosa video emerged showing Romney speaking to a closed event for big donors in Florida. Romney said that 47% of Americans were dependent on the government in some way and saw themselves as victims and would never vote for him anyway. Pundits analyzed this 47% to include retired people on social security, veterans who had served in the military and fought in the wars that neither he nor his sons participated in and in general was a slap in the face of many loyal and hard working Americans. Romney never was able to fully explain away the negative remarks on the video.
The final debates were uneventful and the candidates made their points and counter points. Each side claimed to be the winner and the pundits appeared to be split. In the second debate, however, Romney tried to show Obama and his administration was slow to realize that the Benghazi attack was not a reaction to a Muslim hate film produced by a Coptic Christian living in the United States but was in fact an Al Qaida faction terrorist attack. Obama said he had declared it was a terrorist attack on the day after in a press conference in the Rose Garden. Romney tried to question him on this (a procedure against the rules). Romney tried to go on but moderator Candy Crowley corrected Romney saying the President did say it was a terrorist attack on the day after the event. Romney took the next question from the audience with his tail between his legs.
Thus the election went to the polls with the pollsters making calculations about the vote that were all over the place.
However Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast in the last week before the election and the Obama Adminstration’s smooth handling of the disaster and praise for the response by two prominent Republicans, Chis Christie, Governor of New Jersey and Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, helped to put the last nails in Romney’s coffin.
In the end Obama won by 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206. The popular vote was 61,173,739 or 50.5% to for Obama and 58,167,260 or 48.0%. for Romney. These figures include Florida which finalized its tally on Friday after the election. Thus it was a decisive victory for Obama and the Democrats who not only retained the Presidency but picked up a decisive majority in the Senate, 53 seats to 45 Republican with two independent seats. In the House the Republicans retained control 233 to 195.
Thus the politics of polarity is likely to continue at least to 2014. This situation abides while the country watches how the government will deal with the debt, the budget shortfall, social security, Medicare now subsumed into Affordable Health Care and defense along with many other problems including jobs, education, same sex marriage, the European debt crisis, the Arab Spring, foreign affairs in general and most desperatly the looming mence of the conditions like Sandy created by climate change. If not checked the Planet may not support the life we have taken for granted.
It appears Obama will have a small mandate and the Republican leadership is talking compromise but mostly a one sided one in their favor.
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PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE THREE; OCTOBER 22, 2012: BOCA RATON, FLORIDA. MODERATOR BOB SCIEFFER. ROMNEY STIIL THE SPEECHIFYING AND BUSTERING RESPONDER. OBAMA WAS THE MORE MEASURED AND FACTUAL DEBATER.
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Filed under: Barack Obama, MITT ROMNEY, OBAMA WAS THE MORE MEASURED AND FACTUAL DEBATER
SPEECHIFYING AND BLUSTERING
THE CANDIDATES AND MODERATOR
In the third and final debate of the 2012 election Romney was still speechifying but more subdued and conciliatory about the state of foreign affairs. He still made wide generalizations like Obama had not handled the Arab Spring in the Mid East well, but offered no concrete solutions other than to say he would offer the new regimes support. Obama countered that was exactly what he was doing and that he had decimated the leader ship of al-Qaida. Romney pointed out that there were al-Qaida organizations in Somalia, Yemen, Mali, Libya and other places in the Mid-East that needed to be dealt with. Obama detailed the American response to these small but dangerous terrorist off shoots by assisting the governments where they existed.
Romney continued to seize every opportunity to speechify and give blustering statements whenever possible making gross over statements or misstatements that we needed more money for defense and that he would create 12 million new jobs and cut taxes to 20 per cent. Obama laid out why it was impossible to cut taxes by five trillion dollars and spend an additional two trillion for defense, not asked for, and still balance the budget and pay down the debt.
Overall Obama’s response to the moderator’s topics was more measured and direct, with less bombast and bluster than Romney.
But this time Romney was less aggressive and less prone to making exaggerations and prevarications. It was as if he was out to preserve his bump in the polls that resulted from the first debate where his aggressive behavior seemed to work. Obama kept hammering on his tax cuts and defense spending and what it would do to the detriment of education and spending for medical and scientific research.
Romney said he would designate China a currency manipulator the first day in office to show them we will not tolerate their unfair trade practices. Of course this would be a serious charge usually not lightly made with serious consequences that would sour our relations with China, our greatest creditor, maybe beyond repair.
Many times Obama looked at Romney in exasperation over his wild and untrue statements like when Romney said Obama had been too soft and waited too long to tighten sanctions on Iran. Obama said it took a lot of work to get countries like Russia and China to join in the sanctions and when they did the sanctions caused a huge decrease in Iranian oil exports and caused their inflation rate to rise to unsustainable levels. This was never accomplished under the Bush Administration and now that it has been accomplished it was working. Obama stated that all cards were still on the table including military action, but first he would exhaust sanctions and other diplomatic measures with Iran. He clearly said he would not permit Iran to have a nuclear weapon.
Throughout the night Romney would make wild assertions and Obama would rebut them by the facts or show how Romney had changed his position multiple times or was lying about the facts. This didn’t seem to bother Romney who would go on to the next subject in the same manner. Apparently he believes if you make untrue statements before a large enough audience some of it will stick. There were 59.2 million viewers for this debate versus 65.5 million for the second and 67 million for the first.
Bob Schieffer was a prudent moderator and kept the debate on track but Romney was always asking for more time to reiterate his points contrary to the rules.
Overall Obama came across as the most level headed basing his assertions on the facts and Romney continued to be a wild man making assertions and accusations that were not supported by the facts. However most of the audience may not know the underlying facts or that some facts were in dispute.
Overall Obama made the best impression as a responsible man.
Further it seems, given Romney’s attitude and conduct, it is wrong to call these meetings debates in the classical sense. Often the questions were ignored or briefly alluded to and then the candidate would segue in to into defense or jobs in the case of Romney and woman’s health care, Medicare or green energy in the case of Obama. Little was said about Global Climate Warming or the problems of the real estate market.
Overall the debates probably were more beneficial to Romney than to Obama in the sense of exposure. The President was well known to all American’s before the debates Romney not so much. This is always the case in most debates involving and incumbent and a challenger. Whether Romney will be viewed as a rogue, fool or a serious man with a viable plan will be up to the voters.Leave a Comment